Title: Aunt Clara Summary: A wealthy old man dies and leaves his holdings--including a brothel and a gambling den, racing greyhounds and a sleazy bar--to his eccentric niece Clara. Clara vows to "clean up" her new ... Directed by: Anthony Kimmins Actors: Ronald Shiner, Margaret Rutherford, A.E. Matthews Production Company: Colin Lesslie Productions Release Date: 22 November 1954 (UK) Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
A wealthy old man dies and leaves his holdings--including a brothel and a gambling den, racing greyhounds and a sleazy bar--to his eccentric niece Clara. Clara vows to "clean up" her new establishments, but complications ensue when she visits the crooked gambling den--just as it's being raided by the police.
November 21, 2020 Subject:
Ronald Shiner and Margaret Rutherford were both one-trick ponies, but no great subtlety was called-for in this 1954 adaptation of the Noel Streatfeild story about a rich, elderly villain on his deathbed, with the family hovering around, speculating about his will.
Shiner is the old man’s butler Henry, and Rutherford is the high-minded spinster-niece, Clara, who unexpectedly inherits the whole bang-shoot on the grounds that she alone has never mentioned the subject of money. Clara re-hires Henry and enlists his help in investigating the various companies she now owns, while he feels he ought to shelter her from the sordid truth, which he already knows too much about.
This leads us on a merry dance through the world of dodgy business, entirely unfamiliar to the genteel Clara. Apparently the old man had been raking off a healthy profit from a pub that sold watered beer, as he had from a fairground wheel-of-fortune that had been suitably adjusted in favour of the house. He had also ensured that certain maintenance payments were regularly failing to reach the illegitimate daughter they were meant for. And that’s not to mention a discreet brothel and a greyhound stable where the winners are mysteriously guaranteed in advance. (Henry: “You don’t know anything about dogs”. Clara: “I’m very fond of dogs”.)
This was Rutherford’s own favourite of her films - none of which were allowed to go ahead without a small part for her husband, a shy and self-effacing man to whom she was devoted - possibly because he made a welcome change from her unhappy childhood, so full of chaos and violence.